CMW Review: Ben Lee, May 7, The Great Hall


Ben Lee had some exciting news to share with us at his show at The Great Hall … about a show he played the night before. “Last night I played a gig in the Qantas lounge at LAX. It was a high point – I finally became the guy at the airport bar.” OK, not necessarily the most exciting news, but he seemed pretty stoked about it. And while that might seem an odd thing to get excited about, especially for a seasoned performer like Lee, it illustrates one thing about him – Ben Lee is a totally positive, upbeat guy. Hell, he can even make death seem kind of positive.

Lee mentioned how a couple of years back he was somewhat obsessed with death and even volunteered as a “death midwife.” This led, in turn, to what he referred to as his young daughter’s first existential crisis. All of this was the inspiration for a new song he played, “Everybody Dies,” which he described as a children’s song. And it was, in fact, an upbeat, kind of positive, matter of fact look at death. He followed that up with another new one, “Happiness,” which actually sounded way more like a kid’s song than the previous one. But that’s OK.

At one point, Lee opened it up to requests. A few people shouted out some song titles, among them “Cigarettes Will Kill You.” “Is it not a bit boring without the piano part?” asked Lee before convincing the audience to help him by singing said piano part. He ended his set off with two of his best known songs, “Catch My Disease” and “We’re All In This Together.” He initiated another singalong on the latter song, asking the crowd, “Are you guys ready to get corny?” Yes, Ben, it seems like people are ready and willing to get a little corny with you.

Posted on by Paul in Canadian Music Week